Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Victory! Circus to Perform Without Animals

Written by Michelle Kretzer | April 24, 2012

You might recall that last fall, PETA convinced Simon Property Group, the largest real estate company in the country, to ban exotic-animal exhibits at all its properties. At one mall that Simon owns in Winchester, Virginia, Cole Bros. Circus makes an annual appearance during the city’s Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, which means that Cole Bros. would have to skip this city altogether or use only human performers in its show—no animals whatsoever.


Marion Doss|cc by 2.0

To our surprise, that is just what the circus is doing! The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival announced that Cole Bros. had created “a new-concept circus in 2012 entitled ‘Circus of the Stars’ that they feel will be just as dazzling and just as amazing as previous circuses.” I’m of the opinion that seeing a circus replete with daring and funny human performers would be considerably more exciting than watching frightened, abused animals forced to do silly tricks.

Cole Bros. has a long history of repeatedly violating the Animal Welfare Act and recently incurred a $15,000 fine after PETA filed two complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding the physical safety and psychological well-being of two of its elephants. It was also forced to pay $150,000 for illegally selling endangered elephants to someone wholly unable to provide them with proper care, in violation of the Endangered Species Act

But this humans-only circus is a great start toward making Cole Bros.’ abuse of animals a thing of the past, and PETA will continue working to have venues host only the circus’s animal-free performances.

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  • mjmcg714 says:

    What’s a circus without animals? A circus with a heart. Anyone who believes that these circus owners would willfully watch anamial abuse laws are fooling themselves. There are not enough enforcers to be there all the time (most abuse is behind the scenes of the public view- since these coward peices of garbage aren’t man enough to show their true selves openly for fear of the same happenning to them at the hands of a man who won’t tolerate their BS). Nostalgia is an easy route to go to rationalize & accept the abuse of these poor animals and is no reason to forgive or forget this.

  • Melvin says:

    I think the thing about Cole Bros selling the animals to people who cant take care of them or mistreat them is not good and should pay the fine. On the other hand it is not a good idea to completely remove animals from any circus. It’s been tradition and family fun to watch animals and performers do their thing. I think that all circus’ should be evaluated for animal cruelty but taking them out of the circus’ is a huge mistake. My 2 year daughter has never been to a circus and we wanted to take her this year and she will never see what everyone has seen and experienced. I think PETA needs to leave it alone now and let the USDA take care of it. I’m very disappointed in the whole situation.

  • tre-tre says:

    Yeah go peta…cole brothers are not. t he only ones I am sure.circus animals have mistreated for years..its time that these animals are protected.teach the. Next generation to love and cherrish these animals

  • C. Parola says:

    They have always called their show “Circus of the Stars”. Their website (colebroscircus.com) still pictures and talks about their elephants and Royal Bengal Tigers in their show. So I am confused. Is what they did was just to not have the animal acts & bring the wild animals into the tents during those appearances on properties/municipalities that doesn’t allow it? I have protested at the Cole Bros circus in Tannersville PA in mid May each year and am planning one for their appearance in a few weeks. Please advise.

  • Savvie says:

    Aww but circus’ are no fun without the animals :(

  • Lawrence says:

    Great, but… Cole is still using animals everywhere else, including on Long Island.

  • Kim says:

    This is wonderful news! The animals can finally rest a day, hopefully. Thank you Simon Group and of course PETA for all of your hard work on behalf of all of us that care.

  • Mimi says:

    Tory’s right, if Cole Brothers came to my town doing a circus with no animals I would go and support them. Seeing people do incredible things is more excitin. Thank You Cole Bros! Thank you Simon Property Group…

  • Tory says:

    Now we have to support these circuses by going to them. After all, the performers have a right to make a living and their feats are amazing.

  • Judi says:

    I am so excited! This is huge! YEAH for PETA, Simone Property Goup and Cole Brothers! This is in my neck of the woods and I was dreading the circus coming to town. Time for another PETA donation!

  • Harlen Derringer says:

    This is a huge step in the right direction. Thank you Peta for fighting for this cause. Using animals as entertainment is an outdated practice that needs to be stopped – and circuses are at the top of that list.

  • annie says:

    That is wonderful news. It has made my day.